[IMGCAP(1)]DALLAS-Locally based KDC will plant its flag in three new cities and expand its Houston base after selling a 50% stake in the company to E2M Partners LLC and Sammons Enterprises. KDC’s annual $300-million to $500-million pipeline is the only signpost as to the depth of the privately packaged deal.

KDC CEO Steve Van Amburgh tells GlobeSt.com that the shopping began in November 2007, with 20 investment partners going under the microscope before E2M and Sammons, both from Dallas, won the nod from KDC’s five partners. “We felt a capital partner was necessary if we were going to expand,” he says. “We felt hands down they were the best fit and match for us.”

With the deal now inked, KDC will set plans in motion to add a production office in Houston and interview top executives to open offices in the San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago and Washington, DC. Van Amburgh says the goal is to bring the new shops on line by year’s end. In the coming months, KDC also plans to set up teams to develop data centers and medical office buildings, relying on its Dallas professionals to lead the charge. The CEO hints that the first medical office project–a large one at that–could be ready to discuss in 60 days.

Van Amburgh says the catalyst to sell half the company was done not only so KDC could continue to grow, but to harvest increased requests for proposals for office and industrial build-to-suit projects for corporate America. “We realized the RFPs and proposal pipeline was bigger than it’s ever been,” he says. “It made sense for us from a strategic standpoint to look at other geographies.” Besides Dallas, the ball for KDC’s nationwide pipeline is carried by teams in Atlanta, Charlotte, NC and Detroit.

[IMGCAP(2)]Paul Rowsey, E2M’s managing partner, says he’s “been looking for an opportunity to expand our relationship” since 1997 when he partnered with Van Amburgh’s team on the Nokia North America campus in Las Colinas. The 15-year-old E2M most often invests in bricks and mortar, but has “from time to time” invested in companies, according to Rowsey. When the KDC buy-in arose, he says “we jumped on it.” E2M and Sammons have a 60-40 split of the 50% KDC stake. Sammons is one of the largest privately owned companies in the US with assets approaching $40 billion.

The new partners also earned three board seats for underwriting the five-year growth strategy. Rowsey gets one and the other two will go to Morton Meyerson, E2M’s founder and chairman, and Heather Kreager, executive vice president and general counsel of Sammons.

KDC’s project docket has produced 13 million sf for more than 90 corporate build-to-suits with an all-in value surpassing $2.5 billion. Its owned and leased portfolio is 92% filled. “We continually look at ways to strengthen our business model,” says Tobin Grove, KDC’s president, “and we see great opportunities in several new markets and industries.

Grove and Van Amburgh say acquisitions will be an integral part of the going-forward plan. One of KDC’s largest transactions took place in Greater Dallas in October 2005 when it paid $217 million for the 2.75-million-sf portfolio of Plano, TX-based EDS. KDC’s also in partnership with Parisppany, NJ-based Prudential Real Estate Services to build Intellicenters and more recently formed a $120-million industrial development partnership with Harbert Management Corp. of Houston. There are two projects under way in Austin and Houston and five more slated to start before the year ends.

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